Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by The Associated Press. This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions (in 2040)."
What happens in the Arctic has implications for the rest of the world. Faster melting there means eventual sea level rise and more immediate changes in winter weather because of less sea ice. Surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean this summer were the highest in 77 years of record-keeping, with some places 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, according to research to be released by University of Washington's Michael Steele.
Greenland, in particular, is a significant bellweather. Most of its surface is covered by ice. If it completely melted — something key scientists think would likely take centuries, not decades — it could add more than 22 feet to the world's sea level.
White sea ice reflects about 80 percent of the sun's heat off Earth, NASA's Zwally said. When there is no sea ice, about 90 percent of the heat goes into the ocean which then warms everything else up. Warmer oceans then lead to more melting.
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This is a very discouraging news. We really have to put concrete action to stop this otherwise we would see great international disaster within our lifetime.